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Tulsa volunteer deputy disputes "unbelievably unfair" criticisms

TULSA, Okla. -- A 73-year-old Oklahoma volunteer deputy charged in the fatal shooting of a suspect in Tulsa went on national television Friday to counter criticisms of his qualifications.

Speaking publicly for the first time since the April 2 shooting, Robert Bates told NBC's "Today" show that characterizations of himself as a wealthy donor who paid to join the force are "unbelievably unfair."

Sources: Tulsa reserve deputy's qualifications were falsified

The Tulsa County Sheriff's Office volunteer also disputed reports that sheriff's office supervisors were ordered to falsify his training records.

CBS News has obtained Bates' training records since he joined the Reserve Program in 2008. The documents show he had over 400 hours of law enforcement training.

But sources close to the sheriff's office today told CBS News some of those documents were falsified. They claim at least three officers were pressured by their supervisor to change Bates' records to show he received training he had never taken -- and that two were transferred to less desirable positions when they refused.

Bates previously said he received active shooter training from Arizona's Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, but a spokeswoman said Thursday the office has no record of that.

Tulsa reserve deputy charged in fatal shooting

Bates said Friday that he is certified to be a reserve deputy.

"I have it in writing," Bates said.

Video released by the sheriff's office shows Eric Harris running and deputies restraining him after an undercover gun deal. Bates said he shot the 44-year-old suspect after confusing his stun gun and handgun.

"You must believe me, it can happen to anyone," Bates said.

Bates said the shooting was accidental and apologized to Harris' family.

"I rate this as number one on my list of things in my life that I regret," he said.

The Tulsa district attorney has charged Bates with second-degree manslaughter.

Democratic Rep. Mike Shelton of Oklahoma City and the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union have called for an independent investigation of the office. An office spokesman said Thursday it would conduct an internal review of the reserve deputy program.

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